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Maria

Maria* is a young human rights advocate from Colombia. She fled to the United States, seeking asylum after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) threatened to kill her. After living in fear and under the constant threat of violence and torture, she now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

In detention, Maria is held in a cell next to sex offenders and other prisoners with violent criminal histories. When she spoke with officers inside the facility about her fear of other inmates, they placed her in solitary confinement for 90 days. While in segregation, she was on lock down for 23 hours a day.

Maria has tried to seek psychological treatment, but when she first met with the psychologist, he told her that she didn’t deserve treatment “because [you’re] illegal - [a] criminal.” When she asks to see the doctor, officers usually refuse, offering no other explanation except "you’re in jail."

*Names have been changed to protect women and children